Monday, January 31, 2011

Kindling Words 2011

Last weekend, I attended Kindling Words, an annual writing retreat for writers, illustrators, and editors that takes place in northern Vermont. This was my second time going, and I loved every second of it.

One of the highlights was the Saturday night bonfire. Dressed in our warmest clothes, we all trekked out behind the hotel and clustered around a campfire. We each brought a wish or a resolution or a dream that we'd written on a piece of paper -- the idea is that if we burn the paper, our wish will come true.

After watching a few other people toss their dreams into the flames, I crumpled mine and threw it into the fire. Wind blew it out onto the edge of the embers. I darted in and snagged it. Second try, I tossed it harder toward the center of the logs. Wind tossed it out, and it skittered over the ice. Third try, I tried an underhand toss. It rode the smoke out to land next to a smoldering log. Fourth try, I scooted around the campfire and threw it onto the fire with the wind at my back. The paper uncurled so that the words were facing the sky, and the flames ate it from the outside in.

I retreated back to the circle of writers and illustrators and editors, and I said that I was worried that maybe it meant my wish wouldn't come true -- the fire didn't seem to want it. And the person next to me said don't worry. Maybe it meant that my wish would come true but I needed perseverance.

I liked that. I liked that very much.

Certainly a much nicer interpretation than my being an idiot for throwing it into the wind three times before it occurred to me to move to the other side of the fire.

Anyway, I think it's a nice metaphor for writing. We're tossing our dreams into the fire and hoping they burn true. Sometimes it takes a LOT of tosses. Important thing is to keep trying.

Also, if the wind is in your face... MOVE.

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At 1:23 AM, Blogger Q said...

Also get out of the wind when it's snowing needles.

Will you tell us your wish when it comes true?

At 6:34 AM, Blogger Laura said...

Amazing. Dumb paper, not wanting to be burnt.

Then again, i would'nt want to be.

At 8:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful post, Sarah. I am hopeful for our wishes. :)

At 2:22 PM, Blogger Sarah Beth Durst said...

Q: Yes, but only then. I'm totally superstitious about wishes. :)

Laura: Certainly seemed like the paper was avoiding its fate!

Jenny: I'm hopeful too. It was a rather magical weekend, wasn't it?

At 2:52 PM, Anonymous Lauren said...

The nice thing about stuff like that is that even if your wish doesn't come true, everything that does happen is going precisely as planned. Life is a storybook, and the Author who is writing it is planning a big, happy ending. :D


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